Traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) contributes to about 30% of all injury deaths in the United States. A TBI can be caused by a bump or a blow to the head, or it can be a result of strong forces, such as in a car crash. While not every blow to the head will result in a traumatic brain injury, when someone does suffer a concussion (which is a mild traumatic brain injury), it is important that they receive medical attention and proper treatment.
There is a great deal of misinformation about what is considered a traumatic brain injury. We wanted to debunk a few of the more prevalent myths, so that you can make informed choices if you or a loved one sustains a TBI. The following myths and facts
Myth #1. If there is no loss of consciousness, there is not a traumatic brain injury.
Many people believe that if the injured person does not pass out or lose consciousness, then there has been no serious injury.
Fact: In a mild traumatic brain injury, there may be no loss of consciousness, but the injured person may be in a dazed, confused or disoriented state. Mild traumatic brain injury may affect brain cells temporarily, while more serious TBI can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. (Mayo Clinic)
Myth #2. You must hit your head to sustain a TBI.
A common misconception is that a person must hit his or her head, or have an open head wound to have a brain injury.
Fact: You can indeed suffer a traumatic brain injury even if you do not sustain a blow from an outside force or object. The rapid acceleration and deceleration that occurs in a car crash, when the head is thrown forward and then slams backward, can cause serious injury to the delicate structures of the brain.
Myth #3. You can see the effects of a traumatic brain injury right away.
People tend to believe that all serious brain injuries result in immediate symptoms: changes in personality, memory loss, loss of cognitive abilities, etc.
Fact: The effects of TBI are not always evident immediately. A person might walk away from a crash or a fall, be fully conscious and insist that he or she feels fine.
Myth #4. A helmet will prevent serious brain injuries.
Helmets can protect the head. Many people believe that their brains are 100% protected, too.
Fact: Helmets can protect the head from penetrating head wounds, and cushion the blow of an impact, but they do not always protect the brain from all serious head injuries. A helmet might mean the difference between surviving a crash and not surviving, but it is never a guarantee that there will not be a head or brain injury.
Myth #5. A person recovering from a brain injury will show steady improvement until they are completely healed.
Many people believe, in part due to film and television, that there is a cure for all brain injury types, and that eventually people will heal.
Fact: Every TBI is different and every person will heal at their own pace, based on the severity of their injury, the person’s age and health condition. In some cases, however, the injury is so severe that it will alter the victim’s life forever, and full healing – in terms of cognitive abilities, or fine motor skills, for example – may be impossible.
Myth #6. Mild injuries do not ever have lasting consequences.
Ask your friends and your loved ones, and you will find that, at some point, everyone has taken a blow to the head – while playing sports, while trying to exit out of a car, while reaching for something on the top shelf of the closet, etc. Because these people all recovered quickly, it must mean mild injuries leave no lasting imprint.
Fact: Every TBI will have different consequences. Most people with a concussion or mild TBI will be fine, but some may develop something called post-concussion syndrome, or PCS. This can last for months (and in some cases, a year or more) but the good news is, it’s pretty rare: only about 10% of people with head injuries will develop the condition, though it could be permanent if an injury victim has not recovered within three years.
If you or your child experienced a head injury, Harris Lowry Manton LLP may be able to help. Our brain injury lawyers in Atlanta and Savannah offer free initial consultations, and provide personal injury services on a contingency basis, meaning clients are not charged attorney’s fees until a settlement or verdict has been achieved. Put our experience and knowledge to work in your traumatic brain injury case. Call our Atlanta office today at 404.998.8847, our lawyers in Savannah at 912.417.3774, or complete this contact form to schedule a free consultation.